Season proves tough for Mandurah's mosquito management efforts

Air advantage: An aerial treatment being undertaken to combat winter mosquito larvae numbers. Photo: Supplied.
Air advantage: An aerial treatment being undertaken to combat winter mosquito larvae numbers. Photo: Supplied.

Mosquito management methods were stretched to nearly 900 hectares more than planned for in the 2017/18 season, a local government report has revealed.

Tidal surges and the persistent breeding of mosquitoes throughout the season proved havoc for the management effort with more than 20 aerial larviciding treatments completed.

The task to keep down the pesky insects is held by a City of Mandurah team in conjunction with the Peel Mosquito Management Group (PMMG) and Department of Health.

At a City council meeting on October 9, councillors were presented with the findings of the 2017/18 Mosquito Management Annual Report.

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The report delivered by Tony Free and authored by Scott Severn and Brendan Ingle outlined the management plan and prospects for the upcoming season. 

Among the statistics of numbers of treatments, areas covered and estimated breeding numbers was a break down of the main cause behind local mosquito behaviour. 

It was revealed that during the season management teams were met with challenging environmental conditions due to the effects of a short weak to moderate strength La Niña event that developed in November 2017 and then deteriorated in February 2018.

La Niña occurs when equatorial trade winds become stronger, changing ocean surface currents and drawing cooler deep water up from below.

This results in a cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. 

Those significant rises in tidal inundation events and intensity lead to greater hatching events, which more intervention by the management program. 

Overall, the report presented to council indicted positive results given the tricky environmental conditions. 

It also predicted a decreased need for intervention in the 2018/19 season because there would be a return to El Niño conditions by late 2018 to at least mid-2019. 

According to the report, based on past seasons when El Niño events had been active, fewer tidal inundation and hatching events took place. 

Mosquito management methods were stretched to nearly 900 hectares more than planned for in the 2017/18 season, a local government report has revealed. Photo: iStock.

Mosquito management methods were stretched to nearly 900 hectares more than planned for in the 2017/18 season, a local government report has revealed. Photo: iStock.

At the meeting, it was identified that the management team would like greater funding to undertake more winter treatments.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams put forward a recommendation for council to approach the WA Minister for Health Roger Cook for more mosquito treatment funding.

East Ward councilor Lyn Rodgers supported the idea. “We should get in their ear and make sure we’re not eaten by mozzies,” she said. 

Cr Rodgers also said she’d like to see the City of Rockingham showing more financial support to the management of mosquitoes, as they didn’t “seem to be putting in as much money”. 

What’s your view on the mosquito situation in Mandurah? Share your opinion with our team via editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.